Principal’s Pen: Time to Shine

“Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens” [Daniel 12:2-3].

Among the final words in the book of Daniel is his statement of faith in the resurrection. His words are a comfort to all who believe in the One who gave his life to give life to all.

Daniel lived in a pagan society. The Babylonians and Persians believed the physical world was inferior. The concept of a physical resurrection was foreign to them.

Among the world’s religions, there is notable disagreement on what happens after death. Christians know and believe that Christ will literally raise us from the dead. We will be physical beings, not clouds or spirits. This makes Christianity distinct.

Our world fights against Christ’s teaching of a physical resurrection. Many non-Christians believe that resurrection from the dead is either ridiculous or unneeded. Recently, one state passed a law allowing “human composition” as a means for disposing of human remains. This method considers the lifeless body to be “soil” that is placed back into the ground. On the surface, this appears harmless. However, behind it is the belief that we are “accidents,” the product of evolution. As such, many see death as nothing more than a natural end. By dying, the human body eternally returns to nature.

Genesis 3 tells us that death is the unnatural consequence of sin. However, Christians also know and believe that Christ destroyed sin and death. Some day, he will raise our bodies without sin and its effects.

There is nothing wrong with traditional ways of handling human remains after death. What matters is what we believe. Even in death, we glorify God. The ground may temporarily hold our remains. But Jesus will return to call us once more to take on flesh and rise to eternal life.

God preserve us all in the one true faith so that one day we will “shine like the brightness of the heavens.

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Principal’s Pen: Bad news, good news

It’s going to get worse before it gets better.

John authored Revelation while exiled on Patmos. It was a dangerous time for Christians. Most faced persecution. Many were imprisoned. Some were being tortured and killed.

John’s Spirit-inspired book accurately depicted his world. The Christian Church was under attack. It appeared that evil would soon gain the upper hand.

Repeatedly, John urged the saints to be faithful to God during this tribulation.

But, it would get worse before it got better. He cautioned, “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution” [Revelation 2:10a]. But, immediately, he exhorted, “Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown” [v.10b]. There was hope. Even if death was imminent, the Lord promised the “victor’s crown” to all who persevered.

The Lord of the Church would not desert the faithful. Eventually, the institutions seeking to destroy Christianity would themselves end. No longer would the saints be persecuted, and the Church would actually become society’s foundation.

Today, Christianity is again under attack. But, unlike John’s time, the attack is not necessarily physical. Today’s attack seeks to undermine the Church through fear and apathy. We feel alone and isolated because Scripture’s views are no longer valued by society. At times, we are lulled into complacency thinking that attacks on Christians are distant, sporadic, and without effect.

In reality, those attacks are drawing closer and intensifying. Christians are identified in politics, the media, and entertainment as intolerant hatemongers. Some view us as the troublers of society for defending Scripture’s truths on life, marriage, and sexuality.

We would all do well to read John’s words and remind ourselves that we, too, live in a perilous age. At the same time, we can find comfort in God’s Word. Even if persecution and death threaten us, God promises, “I will give you life as your victor’s crown.”

May God give us a strong faith to clings to him for he promises us “the victor’s crown.”

Jim Grasby is principal of Lakeside Lutheran.
Reach him at 920.648.2321 or jgrasby@llhs.org

Principal’s Pen: Who do you say I am?

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“Who do people say I am?” (Mark 8:27)

Perception and image are important. When people think well of someone or something, they want to belong. When perception or image is negative, people distance themselves.

One day, as Jesus and his disciples traveled through Galilee, he asked, “Who do people say I am?” His disciples repeated the common theories of the day: he was a reincarnation of Moses or Elijah, or perhaps another prophet.

Our Savior then repeated the question, changing one word to aim it at his audience: “Who do you say I am?” (Mark 8:29a). The Master Teacher did this for the sake of his hearers. To this, Peter boldly proclaimed, “You are the Messiah” that is, the Anointed One, the Deliverer (Mark 8:29b).

Jesus is “the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). He is to be revered and trusted. He is also to be the focus of our lives and behavior.

Yet, we don’t always live for Jesus. Our sinful nature overcomes our good intentions. We say and do things that defame Jesus and his Church. The public comes away thinking that Christianity is shallow and powerless to effect change.

We need to understand that our “friendship with the world”—evidenced by sinful actions— “means enmity against God” (James 4:4). When we publicly contradict God’s command to love him and others as ourselves, we “preach a sermon.” We tell others that we may say and do what we want since we are above God and his Word.

At these times, God lead us to see the damage we do. May he confront us with the law to realize our sin and turn from it. After this, may he assure us through the gospel that we are forgiven because Christ fully paid sin’s price.

Who do you say I am?” By God’s grace, may you and I confess that Jesus is “the Messiah, the Son of the living God.

God, give us strong spirits of faith to live for and serve you.

Jim Grasby is principal of Lakeside Lutheran.
Reach him at 920.648.2321 or jgrasby@llhs.org

Principal’s Pen: Don’t miss an opportunity

principals-message-1There are many stories of missed opportunity.

In 2012, a man wished to invest $10,000. He researched many options and found a company whose story interested him. It was in the relatively new and rapidly expanding field of social media.

As he waited, the company’s stock dipped to $20 a share. Knowing his limit, he instructed his broker to buy 550 shares when the price reached $18. As the price further declined, he assumed that his broker made the purchase. He didn’t check.

However, the lowest price the stock reached was $18.06. For $.06 per share, his order was never executed and this investor missed out on a big opportunity—Facebook. His $10,000 investment in 2012 would be worth $90,000 today!

There are many stories of missed opportunity.

Early on the first morning of the week, the women went to Jesus’ tomb. They expected to prepare his body for burial. But, they did not find a lifeless body. They found two “men” in brilliant clothing. Even before they spoke, one man declared, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? [Jesus] is not here; he has risen!” [Luke 24:5-6].

The women “hurried away from the tomb … and ran to tell his disciples” [Matthew 28:8]. They didn’t want to miss the opportunity to share the message of the Savior’s resurrection.

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For many, Easter is a missed opportunity. To them, it’s a spectator event and they miss the opportunity to make its joy their own. Moreover, they miss the opportunity to share God’s message of life and hope through Jesus.

This year, may God guide every believer to seize the opportunity and be like the women who joyfully received the news of Jesus’ resurrection. Furthermore, may he lead us to share our joy so that others may hear and also believe, “[Jesus] is not here; he has risen!

Jim Grasby is principal of Lakeside Lutheran.
Reach him at 920.648.2321 or jgrasby@llhs.org

Principal’s Pen: One for All

Principal's Message“Occasionally, people “prophesy.” Whether commenting on an event or a person, sometimes their words come true.

Scripture contains many prophecies. Perhaps none has more irony than Caiaphas’ prophecy. After Jesus raised Lazarus, John writes, “Many of the Jews who … had seen what Jesus did, believed in him” (John 11:45). News of Christ’s miracle spread quickly. To those who saw it, seeing was believing.

But some reported what they saw to the Pharisees who, with the chief priests, gathered the Sanhedrin. The topic was what to do about Jesus.

Caiaphas, the High Priest, spoke. Although he may well have intended his words only for that situation, they were prophetic. He said, “You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish” (John 11:50). Caiaphas and others feared that if the people believed in Jesus, the Romans might invade and take away their status, power, and freedom. So, he proposed that one be sacrificed for many.

Think carefully about those words. Within them is the prophecy of Jesus’ crucifixion. Our Savior—the “one man”—would “die for the people.” Jesus’ death is the fulfillment of prophecies by Moses, David, Isaiah, Zechariah, and even Caiaphas.

We don’t know if Caiaphas ever reflected on his words. But they clearly point to Jesus’ cross. It was for our sin that God’s Son died to restore our relationship with him. Yet, Jesus’ death was not just for a nation of people. It was for a world of sinners.

Caiaphas’ prophecy reaches even further. After three days, Christ rose giving assurance that his death fully redeemed us. By it, God gives us the sure hope of our own salvation and a desire to live thankfully to him.

a17year14ecOccasionally, human prophecies do come true.

Thank God that we have the sure prophecy of his Word. By it, we see our Savior—the world’s Savior—from sin.

James Grasby is principal of Lakeside Lutheran.
Reach him at 920.648.2321 or jgrasby@llhs.org

Principal’s Pen: Why always thankful?

frame_17970cEveryone has days on which everything seemingly goes wrong. Despite such days, you may always thank God.

Consider that…

  • You have life. God specially designed the time and location in which you live. He has specific plans for you to come to faith, to serve him and others, and to share “the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15). This is life’s true meaning.
  • You are never alone. In an impersonal, uncaring world, God is your closest friend, supporter and confidante. David declares, “You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways” (Psalm 139:2-3).
  • You can rejoice in tribulation. No one—not even believers—escapes suffering. Sin affects us all. Yet, James tells you, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds” (James 1:2). Others see problems as burdens. You may view them as God’s training for future glory.
  • God loves you incredibly. In spite of your sin, he displayed the world’s greatest act of love by giving his Son to be your Savior. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
  • Your future is certain. Through Christ, heaven is yours. No one can take it. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

With all this in mind, you can give thanks even on your worst days.

God bless your Thanksgiving.

Jim Grasby is principal of Lakeside Lutheran High.
Reach him at 920.648.2321 or grasby@llhs.org

Principal’s Pen: Oh so relevant

Some say, “Christianity is irrelevant!”

They believe that the Church’s primary mission is to solve humankind’s ills. So, when it does not address and resolve hunger, disease, war, and other earthly problems, they label Christianity as “irrelevant.”

Sin is the root of life’s problems. Evil forces—including our flesh—continually foster sin. James writes, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” (James 4:1). Moses directly states that the “inclination of the thoughts of the human heart [is] only evil all the time” (Genesis 6:5). We are naturally selfish. Our interests lie within. We place ourselves first thinking we are always correct. After all, it’s easy to point out life’s problems until we realize that we are the cause.

Some assume that Christianity will solve every earthly trouble. They think that God should destroy sin at their whim. When he doesn’t, they declare that he is uncaring, unknowing, and irrelevant.

We know that God does great things. He fed 5,000. He brought two million Israelites safely through the Red Sea. He raised Lazarus. He saves you, me, and all believers. Still, he did (and does) these things in his own way at his own time to glorify his name.

heart_1705cThroughout Scripture, God instructs us to wait patiently. “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:14). “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens” (Eccl. 3:1). “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand” (John 13:7).

God has a plan for everything, including life’s problems. His solutions are timely and relevant. After all, they “transcend all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).

Really, Christianity is relevant!

Jim Grasby is principal of Lakeside Lutheran High.
Reach him at 920.648.2321 or jgrasby@llhs.org